OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a lawsuit filed by a number of Republican states to block the Biden administration from ending the Title 42 mandate that allowed for quick deportation of most illegal immigrants.
The rule, implemented by then-President Donald Trump as the COVID-19 pandemic began spreading throughout the country and the world, was one of several border security policies that were credited with reducing the rate of illegal crossings to 45-year lows. The GOP-led states argued that the Biden administration’s decision to end it was improperly implemented.
“The December 16, 2022 order of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denying petitioners’ motion to intervene is vacated, and the case is remanded to that court with instructions to dismiss the motion as moot,” the nation’s highest court wrote in its decision on Thursday, according to Fox News.
Over 2 million illegal migrants were expelled under the order, the outlet noted further.
The Biden administration had initially aimed to terminate the Title 42 order in 2022 but encountered opposition when Republican states appealed the decision. Subsequently, an ACLU lawsuit resulted in a court order to end Title 42 in December.
However, the Supreme Court granted a stay in response to a request from 19 Republican states. The states argued that they should be allowed to intervene and challenge the summary judgment order, Fox News reported.
Originally, the court was likely to issue a ruling in the spring, but the Biden administration subsequently announced that the COVID-19 emergency declaration, along with Title 42, would end on May 11. As a result, since the order would naturally expire, the high court removed the oral arguments from the calendar for the appeal.
JUST IN: Supreme Court dismisses defense of Title 42 migrant policy.
Neil Gorsuch: “Since March 2020, we may have experienced the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in the peacetime history of this country… leaders imposed lockdown orders…shuttered businesses and schools.” pic.twitter.com/v9T1AYr79D
— Michael P Senger (@michaelpsenger) May 18, 2023
In the ruling, Justice Neil Gorsuch said that the legal wrangling over Title 42 was akin to “head-spinning” and said Thursday the court was putting “a final twist on the tale.”
“Apparently, these developments are enough to persuade the Court that the Title 42 orders the government wished to withdraw a year ago are now as good as gone and any dispute over them is moot,” he wrote.
Gorsuch also argued that the case “illustrated the disruption we have experienced over the last three years in how our laws are made and our freedoms observed.”
“Since March 2020, we may have experienced the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in the peacetime history of this country… leaders imposed lockdown orders…shuttered businesses and schools,” he wrote.
“Doubtless, many lessons can be learned from this chapter in our history, and hopefully serious efforts will be made to study it. One lesson might be this: Fear and the desire for safety are powerful forces,” he said.
Continuing, Gorsuch added this powerful passage: “They can lead to a clamor for action—almost any action—as long as someone does something to address a perceived threat. A leader or an expert who claims he can fix everything, if only we do exactly as he says, can prove an irresistible force. We do not need to confront a bayonet, we need only a nudge, before we willingly abandon the nicety of requiring laws to be adopted by our legislative representatives and accept rule by decree.”
While at times, executive action “is sometimes necessary and appropriate,” Gorsuch went on to warn that excessive actions are a threat to liberty and constitutional protections.
“…[I]f emergency decrees promise to solve some problems, they threaten to generate others. And rule by indefinite emergency edict risks leaving all of us with a shell of a democracy and civil liberties just as hollow,” he said.
Biden administration officials said that in the days before the end of Title 42, there were dramatic increases in illegal crossings, but added that encounters since then have fallen to around 4,000 a day.